This was my first year attending SXSW and it was a great experience. Here are some of the things I noticed:
- Live blogging is dying. In most sessions, the audience and sometimes the panelists were engaging via some flavor of Twitter client. At conferences in the past, there might be a main event blog and attendees would put up quick posts after each session. Now we see that different tools are better suited for different communication cadences (and purposes). If you're still into liveblogging, Louis Gray explains How to Blog Live Events and Publish With Lightning Speed.
- Corporate field trips. One client-side attendee told me that he had run into plenty of familiar agency and vendor folk, but none of the client-side people like himself. From what I gather, they were certainly around but didn't make a big deal about it – perhaps because many of the client-side companies were there to learn and absorb. And besides individuals like Scott Monty and Chris Barger, there were small teams from Pepsi, Wal-Mart, Panasonic on site to learn and experience things first hand. Very similar premise to the P&G Digital Night held right before SXSW kicked off.
- Weighted value of sources. Your incoming expectations will temper what you get out of the different interaction formats. I think you'll need to mix panels, hallway conversations, lounges, meals, and parties to get a full experience – and recognize that they will all add value to your time spent, even if you're not the most social butterfly or note taker.
- Papa Smurf can get kind of crazy.
Everyone's starting to return home and reflections are sinking in. More reflections:'
– Jackie Huba, 18 cool things at SXSW
– Rachel Happe, SXSW '09 retrospective
– Alora Chistiakoff, Highlights from SXSW 2009
– Mack Collier, SXSW Recap – The Sessions
– Jeff Beckham, SXSW Scorecard
– Aaron Strout, Overheard: I Survived SXSW '09 and Lived To Talk About It
– Marc Berry, 2,584 words on SXSW Interactive 2009
– Mike Stopford, SXSW Interactive 2009 – Reflections
– Kyle Flaherty, SXSWi Decompress Part I: My Mistakes
– Kaitlyn Wilkins, The One Where I Wrap Up SXSW